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The dog days of summer are looking good for rural equipment dealers. Several key indicators point to a strong consumer economy.

The Commerce Department recently announced that new-home sales rose 3.5% in June, the best level since February 2008. Purchases of new homes have increased 10.1% year to date, and the unemployment rate was at 4.9% in June, about where we started the year. And, U.S. retail sales of farm tractors under 40 horsepower were up 3% compared in June to last year, with year-to-date gains of 12.7%, according to the Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers.

What about you? Are you seeing this optimism in your market? Here’s a quick look back at where you expected to be this year, according to our 2016 Business Trends & Outlook Report, issued early this year:

  • 45.7% of dealers expected their total revenues to grow 2-7% and 13.3% expected gains of 8% or more.
  • In terms of aftermarket revenues, 53.7% of dealers expected gains of 2-7% and 9.4% expected gains of 8% or more.
  • The top sellers you forecast for the year: zero-turn mowers, chain saws, utility vehicles, tractors less than 40 horsepower and lawn tractors.

It’s a good time now to regroup if you’re not quite where you need to be. As the mowing season is slowing down, fall clean-up and winter snow removal should bring you another chance to boost revenues. And, manufacturers will soon be announcing their 2017 line-ups, giving you new promotional opportunities.

We want to track the pulse of what you’re thinking now as we head to the final stretch of 2016. Can you please take this short one-question poll:

In terms of overall revenue, is 2016 shaping up to be:

Regardless of where you are and where you wanted to be, there’s still time to fix what’s not working or find new ways to smash your sales goals. If the recent party conventions are any indication, the next few months will be a wild ride and it’s anybody’s guess regarding the possible aftermath of the presidential election, so seize the opportunities right now.